Embattled Blue Moon Tavern owner Gus Hellthaler called my voice mail over the weekend to say he'd come to terms with the City of Seattle on a compromise Community Good Neighbor Agreement, which had been the crux of the two sides' ongoing public spat. This imbroglio -- namely City Attorney Tom Carr's opposition to renewing the Moon's beer & wine license over allegations that it's a haven for dope peddlers -- posed the biggest threat to the historic, bohemian U. District Tavern's existence since it was slated for demolition to make way for condos in the early 90's.
Says Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis, who helped broker the deal: "Yeah, it's all signed. It's done." As for Carr, Ceis says, "Tom's fine -- he participated in the process and signed off." Hellthaler, who placed his tavern on the market a few months ago when negotiations came to an impasse, now has a more laissez faire attitude toward selling his joint, which has been a popular hangout for Pulitzer Prize winning poets and literary nobles such as Tom Robbins for almost a century.
"If the contract runs out and it doesn't sell, so it goes," says Hellthaler. As for what changed his mind about signing the CGNA, a document which he once considered fundamentally unconstitutional, Hellthaler explains: "The original [CGNA] said I had to maintain my shrubbery and all this sort of silly crap, while this one says I have to obey the laws of the city, county and state -- which is what we do anyway. It goes for general principles rather than specified behavior, which is all very reasonable."